I have been dreaming about my wedding since I was in middle school. Every slumber party I can remember had talk about wedding dresses, church weddings versus beach weddings, and how possible it really was that one of us could marry someone from N’SYNC. I assumed I would get married around the age of 20, because in my 13 year-old mind, that was officially OLD.
As the years went by and my understanding of marriage increased, my desire to dream and plan and scour David’s Bridal new fall collection did also. By the time I was in college, I was looking at venues online, and wondering when it would be my day.
It seemed harmless at the time.
After undergrad, I started graduate school to become a marriage and family therapist. I was learning about counseling theory, marriage throughout history, what makes marriages last, and how important marriage is to society. Some of my wedding fantasies turned into daydreaming about how I would prepare myself to be married, and how I would want my marriage to look.
But I still loved planning this future, who-knows-when wedding with friends. All my single/dating girlfriends were into the same thing.
Oh, I didn’t mention I wasn’t the only one?
We would buy wedding magazines and pour over them in coffee shops, or while hanging out on the weekends. We’d keep them in a hidden stash at each other’s apartments, being sure to slide them under the couch when our guy friends or potential dates came over. We knew it was harmless, but we also knew that boys would freak if they knew what we did in our spare time. Somehow we knew that guys weren’t as obsessed as we were with all the wedding stuff. So we kept doing it for fun, making wish lists, and laughing over each other’s outlandish ideas. It was a good time, but deep down I knew what I was really craving was a relationship.
Oh, but you can’t imagine how excited my girlfriends and I were when we discovered Pinterest. Finally, we had a place online to create a digital vision board filled with hundreds and hundreds of wedding ideas. Let the obsessions grow! Cakes, flowers, DIY veils and favors, grooms’ wear, chalk board signs, the possibilities were endless!
Again, it seemed harmless. Until I started seriously dating Danger.
In the early stages of our relationship, it seemed fine enough. We were just beginning to learn about each other. After a month or two of dating – ha, probably even before that – I was envisioning what our wedding would look like. Afternoon wedding? Evening affair? Would he want to get married in Austin? Would he be okay with me wanting to wear Converse?
The more serious we got, the more time I would spend daydreaming about this. That’s when the wedding fever became a problem. You see, Danger and I were trying to discern marriage properly. We were not discerning a wedding, we were discerning a vocation. A life-long vocation. That takes serious prayer and thought and consideration. I found my previously-harmless wedding fever getting in the way of that. I was itching to ask him questions about wedding stuff, and when I did, he would just look at me weirdly and say, “Huh? I don’t know, I’ve never thought about it.” I would press him to tell me what his “timeline” looked like, you know, how long did he think he’d have to date someone before he would marry them?
Poor guy was getting pressured (somewhat) innocently by me, and while Danger is the most patient man I know, he would still have moments when he had to tell me to slow down and wait. He would gently remind me that this was a serious thing, and it deserved time and attention. It deserved patience and reverence. He would remind me of things that we still had left to experience together, hurts we still needed to resolve, and ways we needed to grow as a couple. Not only that, he would remind me this was time to grow in relationship with God, our most important relationship ever.
Aw, man – he was right. Of course he was right! Here I was, someone with an advanced degree in marriage counseling, being reminded of how important it was to discern the vocation. Ugh, I definitely deserved a few facepalm moments to myself…
Now, I’m getting slightly better. Danger might still describe me as a “horse chomping at the bit”, but I have tried to stop myself from pressuring him. I have also spent more time thinking about what’s fueling my wedding fever – deep down, I have a true desire for marriage. That desire is so strong, and has been strong since I was a senior in high school and decided I wanted to devote my life to saving the institute of marriage however I could.
As most of you know, marriage in this day and age seems to be a dying social structure. But the truth is, marriage is the building block of our world. It is the nucleus of society! Without marriage, being in a committed lifelong relationship is crazy hard. Even with marriage, it’s hard! But if we approach marriage as the sacred bond that it is, if we treat it as something holy and worthy of sacrifice, then we begin to reshape ourselves to be worthy of the call.
Marriage is sacrifice. Marriage calls us to die to ourselves every day for the sake of our spouse and family. It isn’t just a piece of paper. It isn’t a Pinterest board come to life. Marriage takes two people and creates an entity powerful enough (with God’s grace) to withstand trials and hardships that we wouldn’t be able to survive alone. We learn to be warriors for each other. We learn to LOVE, in the true sense of the word (not the Hallmark sense of the word).
So yeah, marriage is serious business. I know this, but my girl brain still takes delight in flitting around, dreaming of cakes and tulle. Daydreaming about a future wedding isn’t so bad, but I learned that it needs to be tempered with thinking about what marriage actually is, and how I need to prepare myself for it.
Don’t worry ladies, I’m not deleting my wedding Pinterest board anytime soon. It’s still fun to dream and create. But I put a limit on Pinning away for a wedding that may happen, and try to devote my time on the relationship that is already happening with Danger. And for my lovely single friends? Sure dreaming is fun, but make sure you’re taking time to grow in relationship with God and your friends. This time is such a gift, every moment of it! Be good to yourself, take a break from daydreaming, and get out there! The world is waiting.